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Alexa, can you save Sears? Sears to sell Kenmore appliances on Amazon

21 July 2017
Alexa, can you save Sears? Sears to sell Kenmore appliances on Amazon

The iconic - but beleaguered - retailer plans to integrate Amazon's Alexa platform into its smart appliances, allowing customers to control appliances, such as air conditioning units, with their voice.

It's an interesting reversal of fortune for Sears, whose sales have been in the hole for years - mainly due to competition from e-commerce sites such as Amazon. And even if shoppers don't begin their search on Amazon, they often end up there, with roughly 90 percent of consumers checking Amazon before they make a purchase, the survey found.

The heritage denim brand has fully accepted the digital age.

With this deal, Sears is looking to expand its reach and grow the Kenmore name brand.

The partnership would also offer Amazon an in-depth look into the home appliance business, giving it valuable data about the industry's operations, its pricing structures and seasonal fluctuations, analysts said.

The announcement before the opening bell Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring more than 19 percent in morning trade. For example, users can change the temperature on their air conditioner without leaving the sofa.

"This will significantly expand distribution and expose the brand to new customers, and we're hopeful it will lead to a lot more sales", said Kenmore Brand President Tom Park.

The retailer has shed more than $1 billion in costs through store closures and other measures and recently sold its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for the equivalent of $900 million.

And just like after Amazon announced that it had agreed to buyWhole Foods Market (WFM), the news is hammering every company competes with Sears in the appliance space, including Whirlpool (WHR), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe's (LOW). The S&P 500 index is up almost 14% for the a year ago. The company's stock has lost almost 95 percent of its value in the past decade, from a peak of $195.18 a share in 2007.